More mobility for art! Mobile AIR (Artist In Residence) is a mobile tiny house - a traveling artist studio, that combines living, working and creative exchange on only 6,5 square meters. The house is currently being built by the initiating artist Pia Grüter, in collaboration with Tinyhouse University, as well as many supporters, such as ZK/U Berlin and Timelab in Ghent.
This non-profit program will enable artists from the most diverse disciplines to realize site-specific projects, field-research and exhibitions, in Germany. It offers a new, flexible and mobile platform for artistic research and creation.
From on the end of 2018, artist from the most various disciplines will be able to apply to the program. Mobile AIR is a Berlin-based residence studio, that will take place in an especially tiny house. Compared to most other examples of tiny houses, this one is exceptionally small, measuring only 6,5m2, making it very flexible. It is off-the-grid, equipped with an Internet connection, and can be transported to specific sites and parked for short or long periods of time. The artist-in-residence can therefore realize site-specific projects at places that might otherwise be difficult to access. Unlike other residencies, which are generally tied to specific locations, Mobile AIR enables artists to choose the site of their residences.
The simplicity of a tiny house offers a great environment for focused work. The house is extremely versatile in terms of functionality. Depending on the particular location where it is placed, the house can either become an isolated workspace or, alternatively, a very open room, linking directly to the public.
All projects realized in Mobile AIR will be presented and exhibited at the end of each residency term. The idea is to not only offer space to artists, but also to create a space for connection, open workshops, creativity, participation, conversation and exchange with the public. Mobile AIR aims to re-define the concept of Artis Residencies, to open doors for interdisciplinary research projects, and to connect artistic and scientific approaches with each other. The house offers a small, but very enriching stage for the arts and an interested audience. It supports the international and intercultural exchange.
I am a 32 year old German-Finnish artist from Berlin. I did my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Maastricht (Netherlands), and completed my MFA in Public Art and New Artistic Strategies at the Bauhaus University Weimar in 2016.
I love combining travel with artistic research – and I am crazy about tiny houses!
In many of my own projects, I’ve incorporated travel and field research into my creative process. I’ve completed several artist residencies in, among other places, Canada and Japan. During these stays abroad, I was able to entirely concentrate on my work and the environment I found myself in. This, to me, was a key component of the experience.
During one of my last projects, I researched into how to read our society’s environmental footprint on the Finnish forest landscape, and how it mirrors human society. For this, I traveled all across Finland, visited folkloric villages in Russian Karelia, and drove all the way back to Weimar, Germany. This was a totally self-directed endeavor, and to achieve it, I transformed an old van into my mobile home and art studio. I lived and worked in it for two months. I never would have been able to get as close to my research topic – or reach my conclusion – if I hadn’t had a flexible, mobile studio.
This was when I became fascinated by the topic of tiny houses, and quickly became obsessed.
Me and my mobile studio in Saarijärvi, Finland
In November 2017, I did a one-week residence at Bauhaus Campus, an experimental tiny house village, initiated by the Tinyhouse University, and hosted inside Bauhaus-Archive / Museum of Design in Berlin. During this stay, I developed several architectural models of the future Mobile AIR house.
With Mobile AIR, I want to see the great concepts and approaches of artist residencies, site-specific research and tiny houses, melt together into a single residency. I want to open doors for others to explore their creativity in this unique environment. In the active teamwork of other tiny house enthusiasts, artists and carpenters that I will have on my side, this house can be realized.
Me during a tiny Artist In Residence stay, in Leonardo Di Chiara's aVOID tiny house, at Bauhaus Campus, Berlin
The framework for Mobile AIR is an old horse trailer, which determines the shape of the house’s floor plan. Over the past few months, I have removed the original horse box from the trailer, revealing the body underneath. A sub-frame was then added on top of the original frame in order to make the base of the house stronger as well as a bit wider. After giving it a new varnish, the wall and roof framing were constructed, and the trailer was now finally ready for its transformation!
Thanks to a funding by ZK/U Berlin (Zentrum für Kunst und Urbanistik), and its platform "Güterverkehr" (Idea Yards Market), in December '17, we were able to put up the entire wall framing of the house during a workshop, in only one weekend.
New skeletal structure
Workshop with Noam Goldstein, Ioan Schmidt and Max. Many thanks also to Lena Skrabs and Antonije Buric, for helping!
Since March 2018, the house is located in Lutherstadt Wittenberg, where the Cranach Foundation offered their beautiful garden to the Tinyhouse University, to create a temporary tiny house village for three months. This is a great place to work on the house, in a nice environment within a community of artists and tiny house enthusiasts!
The exterior is almost finished and the seaweed insulation will be added within the next days. Very soon it will be possible to spend the first nights inside the house :)
Mobile AIR aims to accommodate the artist’s needs, and not the other way around. Since the house is so small, every piece of the interior will be carefully considered. A lot of the furniture is foldable, expandable and movable, and some can even completely disappear from view. The design has been developed so that as much of the area as possible is dedicated to studio and work spaces.